Finding Instagram Success: Build an Account People Care About | Taylor Loren | Skillshare

Finding Instagram Success: Build an Account People Care About

Taylor Loren, Head of Content Marketing @ Later

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
12 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:43
    • 2. Why Instagram is Awesome

      5:49
    • 3. Busting the Myths

      3:28
    • 4. Understanding the Algorithm

      4:52
    • 5. Updating Your Profile

      1:34
    • 6. Defining Your Mission

      6:28
    • 7. Branding Your Profile

      7:19
    • 8. Conducting a Content Audit

      7:29
    • 9. Creating Great Content

      6:45
    • 10. Building a Workflow

      7:15
    • 11. Growing Your Audience

      7:11
    • 12. Final Thoughts

      0:32
511 students are watching this class

About This Class

Want to stand out on a crowded platform? You already have everything you need!

Join Taylor Loren, Head of Content Marketing at Later, for a 60-minute class all about building an Instagram presence that embodies your whole self — and attracts followers who genuinely care!

After a decade of growing Instagram accounts behind-the-scenes for big brands and celebrities, Taylor felt like posting to her own profile was a chore. In response, she developed a step-by-step approach that removes the pressure to be perfect, reframing Instagram as a tool for achieving your personal vision of success. 

Designed for anyone who wants to be someone online, each lesson provides accessible, actionable steps to take you from just another user to a must-follow account. 

Key lessons cover:

  • Defining Instagram success on your own terms
  • Debunking common myths and working with the algorithm
  • Creating a one-of-a-kind account that’s worth the follow
  • Building a community that’s obsessed with you

Plus, Taylor shares tips and examples from her own journey to find balance online, as she grows a blog, maintains a career, and opens up about mental health on her feed. 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, aspiring influencer, or simply someone who wants to create content people care about, Taylor’s holistic approach will eliminate the pressure and give you the tactical tools you need to achieve your goals, online and off!

______________

Later is the #1 Instagram marketing platform that helps you schedule posts and stories, plan your feed, find user-generated content, and so much more - all for free!


Get your first month of Later Premium for free using the code SKILLSHARE20

Transcripts

1. Introduction: There's one benefit I found of being really open and real with my followers, it's that even if just one person feels like they can relate to it and they feel like a little less alone, and that's the power of Instagram. Hey! My name is Taylor Loren, I'm a Content Marketer and I help people achieve their goals through Instagram marketing. Some of you may know me as Taylor from Later, which is the number one Instagram marketing platform. Before that, I was also busy building Instagram accounts for big brands and celebrities. I started my own travel blog and Instagram account Local Wanderer, and lately I've been growing my own Instagram accounting. Today's class is going to be all about teaching you how to create an authentic Instagram accounts that people really care about. And we may be taking you along to show you my personal Instagram workflow and chain, tips and tricks that I've learned from over 10 years working in social media. Today we're going to cover how to define your mission, create a brand that people are obsessed with and we're also going to be talking about the nitty-gritty details of content creation and scheduling, as well as how you can grow your account and get more dollars. At the end of this course, you're going to have an Instagram account that you're really proud of, something that's reflective of you or your business and some of this is going to help you achieve all of your goals. So if you're following along, you don't really need much. You need an Instagram account, an awesome attitude and the phone in your pocket. I am so excited you're here for this class, so let's go, let's get started! 2. Why Instagram is Awesome: Welcome. I am so glad you are here. Before we dive in, let's take a little bit of a step back and talk about why this matters, and why you should spend some time on your Instagram account. Instagram is everywhere in our society today, it's a big part of pop culture and politics, and everyone's day-to-day lives. There's a lot of theories and misconceptions about Instagram too, some people worry about its effect on people or they don't really see a lot of value in Instagram. But there's a lot of positives that come with Instagram too. You can make new friends, like I have, you can connect with people about really genuinely like any topic that you're interested in, you can get inspired, you can be artistic, you can learn more about the world by following different people who are different from you, or who live in different areas of the world. So Instagram really does have a power to inspire people and bring people together. If you want to start using the power of Instagram to help you achieve your goals, this class is going to be great for you, whether you are running your own business, or you're an entrepreneur, or you're just really interested in the topic and you want to become more well-known in your industry for that. When I was in college, I was kind of bored, I would spend a lot of my time running my own blog when I started, and I worked at the school newspaper, and I got to learn how to write. But the things I was most excited about was promoting all of the things I wrote through social media. Then I ended up dropping out of college when I got an internship working at a startup doing social media. That changed my life and I never went back to school, and I continued to just learn and educate people about social media, and I realized that, wow, people can actually have a job in this. That was ten years ago, and since then, I have been working to help people really grow their businesses through social media. That's how I got to working at Later. I was the first marketing hire there, and I have grown the brand from the ground up. Later has a really popular newsletter that goes out twice a week, and it sent by me Taylor from Later. Taylor from Later is a bit of a persona that has developed over the years. I realized that having an Instagram account that looked not super professional, but professional enough, was really important, for even just my 9-5 job, and it was really important for my future in this industry. So I started trying. I don't try super hard. I'm not trying to get to a 100,000 followers in three months, or anything like that, but I want to like put in a bit of effort. One of the things that I got really real about on my Instagram is my own personal struggles with mental health. Decreasing mental health stigma is something that's really important to me, and I'm really passionate about it. I found that one of the best ways to do that is to just be honest and open, and I use my Instagram to do that. Lots of people share like all the glamorous highlighted some on their Instagram, but It's cool to see the real stuff behind it too. It makes you realize that everyone has really good days and everyone has really bad days too, and you don't have to feel like you can only share one slice of your life in order to connect with people on Instagram. I have a pretty holistic approach to social media. It's all about being your true authentic self. Authenticity is more than just a buzzword, it really is the key to having an account that people care about. When you're authentic and true to who you really are, that's going to be displayed in your Instagram account, people can really get it. The best part is when you're being your true self on social media and being really authentically you, it's fun, it doesn't feel like work, it feels like you're doing something bigger than just putting content on Instagram. I believe that social media should help your overall goals. Whatever those may be, if they are certain business goals you have or certain personal goals, that should be the focus of your accounts and not on how many likes or followers you have. Because you don't need a ton of followers in order to have a big impact on Instagram. So now we're ready to get started. Here's an overview of what we're going to be covering in this class. The first lesson is taking a little bit of a step back and just refreshing on how Instagram works, and how you can be set up for success. Then we're going to be talking about defining your mission so you can get clarity around who you are, and what you want your Instagram to be. Next, we'll be talking about branding your accounts so you can create an Instagram brand that people are obsessed with. Then we'll be talking about conducting a content audit. This is going to help you go through your existing Instagram, figuring out what works and what doesn't. Then we'll be talking about, probably my favorite part, content creations. We are going to be giving you tips for taking videos and stories, editing them and all that fun stuff. We'll also be diving into scheduling and showing you the Instagram workflow that you can use to save a ton of time. We'll also talk about growing your audience and what you can do to get more followers on Instagram. Throughout the course, we'll be giving you a lot of examples, some of my own personal work from growing my travel account, Local Wanderer, shrinks from my personal Instagram growth, what we do at Later to grow our account, as well as some other small business examples. I'm going now to jump into the next lesson and get you set up on Instagram. 3. Busting the Myths: There's a lot of myths and misconceptions about Instagram. So taking the time to find out exactly how Instagram works is going to help you build a better strategy and get more engagement on your account. The first myth is that lots of people think that you need to have a lot of followers in order to make a big impact on Instagram, but this is not true. In fact, micro influencers are actually in more demand than influencers with millions or hundreds of thousands of followers. So what is a micro-influencer? Well, there's no exact definition, but really it can be anyone ranging from 10,000-100,000 followers. There's even a nano-influencer, now which are people who are just normal people who have maybe a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand followers. Why are these accounts trending and so popular with brands right now? Because they figured out that these are real people sharing their real life on Instagram. The content happens to be a lot more trustworthy because people see it as a recommendation from a friend instead of a sponsored ad on Instagram, and you're able to really generate a lot of engagement when you do have a smaller following. So you still you should see this as a bonus or a positive incentive a negative. If you're constantly thinking about just the number of followers you have instead of the number of real people you're connecting with, then you're not going to be as successful on Instagram. Another common myth is that you need to have a really expensive or professional camera. You need to have maybe an Instagram boyfriend to take all these content of you, and then you have to know how to edit it all using the Adobe Suite. It's just not true. In fact, some of the biggest influencers on Instagram, they're just posting iPhone photos, and our cameras are so advanced now, you don't even have to worry about having the newest and greatest iPhone. There's a ton of apps that are free, that help you create your content, edit your content, schedule your content, and you don't have to spend a lot of money to invest in your Instagram account, and you don't have to spend a lot of time either. Another myth that sometimes people get a little bit intimidated about is that you have to be on camera and be a big personality in order for people to care about your Instagram account. This is not true. First of all, it's great to show your face on stories and connect with people, but you don't need to have a full face of makeup or really great outfit every single day in order to feel competent to jump on your stories. In fact, a lot of people like to watch when people are real. I know I've actually followed live influencers and when they jump on with no makeup on on their bed head, I just feel like I relate to them so much more because instead I'm trying to be perfect, they're just, hey, connecting with me and being one-on-one real. If you're not super comfortable being on camera, that's okay. There's a lot of accounts that are really driven through copy or even just through their visuals without having to rely on individual person and your personality to drive the account forward. So you don't have to necessarily be front and center in order to have an Instagram account that people love. 4. Understanding the Algorithm: Now what you're really wondering is how does the Instagram algorithm work? When it comes to the algorithm, there's a lot of scary feelings associated with it, and people feel like it's this really bad ominous thing that's going to make it so that your posts aren't seen to your followers. But when you know how the algorithm works, that means you can hack it to actually help you instead of hurt you. There are three key factors in the Instagram algorithm that affect how many people are going to see your posts in their feed. The first factor that the Instagram algorithm takes into consideration is how much it thinks you're going to care about this post. What that means is, are people engaging with your account? Are they watching your stories? Are they liking your posts? Are they commenting? Are you connecting with them? How connected are these two people? That's what Instagram will then discover and those are the people it's going to choose to share the post to first. So how can you beat this? One of the easiest ways is to be consistent. So for example, if you're posting on your Instagram stories every day and you're being really consistent about that, it's going to become a little bit like a reality TV show that people are excited to tune into every single day and if they're excited to do that, then your stories are going to be near the front of their feed for them to engage with. You also want to be consistent with posting to your feed as well. This doesn't mean that you'll have to post every single day of the week, but you do want to be consistent and post great content and trying to engage with people in the comments and make sure that you're always commenting back with them and a really good way to do this is to sit down once a week and plan out all of your Instagram content for the week so then you can be sure that you're consistent and showing up for your followers. The second factor that the Instagram algorithm considers is the relationship to the person who's posting it. So this is why you'll often see a photo from maybe your parent at the top of your feed, even though they might only have 50 Instagram followers, it's because Instagram has figured out, hey, you really care about this family member and you probably want to see this post, even though it's not some epically gorgeous photo by an extremely popular account. This is because Instagram values relationships, and again, this ties back in to why you should be authentic on Instagram, because the algorithm favors authenticity at the end of the day. So if you are trying hard to genuinely connect with people on Instagram, this means in your DMs replying back to everybody, having them open, creating conversation starter questions, maybe you put up a poll in your Instagram stories about really anything that gets people invested. So for example, with my house, as I'm redecorating it, I would ask for some advice and put up a poll and then people became really invested all of a sudden in what my apartment was going to look like, and they would tune in back for more and they love being able to give their input on something and actually feel they were helping me out with a problem. The third thing that the Instagram algorithm factors in is timeliness. So how long ago was this photo posted? So this is where my number 1 tip for beating the algorithm comes into play. You want to find your best time to post. Finding the best time to post is giving yourself the biggest opportunity for your post to be seen by as many followers right when it's posted. Why does this matter? Because the more followers that engage with your content right after it's posted, what this does is it signals to Instagram that your content is quality content and it's good content, and then they show it to more people. So this all happens within the first 30 minutes of your posts. So it's really important that you're posting when people are online, when your specific followers are online and this is why you'll also want to hang out in your Instagram for a little bit after you post. You want to answer any questions that come in to the comments and just generally see if your post is performing well. There's no overall best time to post on Instagram and this is because every Instagram account has followers made up of totally different demographics in different cities and time zones all over the world. So if you're wondering how you can find your personal best time to post on Instagram, we do have this feature in Later and we'll share it in the class resources. Some tips on how you can figure this out for yourself from your Instagram analytics too. 5. Updating Your Profile: So now that you are a little bit more prepared on how you can be the Instagram algorithm, it's time to talk about what Instagram profiles you should be using. There are three types of Instagram profiles. There's personal profiles, business profiles, and there's the new creator profiles. Hands down, the best profile for you to have is an Instagram business profile, even if you're using it for a personal account or even if you consider yourself to be creative. This is because it has the most features for you to use. There's a ton of features and bonuses to have an Instagram business profile, some of which include the ability to add links to Instagram stories. You can schedule your posts, you can save time, you can get access to follow an unfollow data, and most importantly, access to your analytics so you can learn what's working and what isn't. You can also promote posts. So if you need a little bit of boost or you want to run Instagram ads, you can do that through Instagram business profile too. There's a lot of rumors out there that Instagram business profile will reduce engagement on your count, and this is 100 percent not true. In fact, business profiles are going to give you the tools that you need and the understanding to know what's working in your accounts that you can get even more engagement. So now, if you don't have an Instagram business profile yet, say goodbye to your personal profile and switch it over to an Instagram business profile. Once you've done that, we're going to get into the fun stuff and talking about defining your mission for Instagram. 6. Defining Your Mission: So the first piece of building an Instagram account that people really care about is to figure out what you really care about. So what I want to know is, why are you on Instagram? Why are you taking this class right now? What do you want your Instagram to become and what do you want your Instagram to be when it grows up? The reason why having a mission for your Instagram account is so important is so that you have a why behind all of the hard work that you're doing. So if you're getting frustrated, you can go back to your mission and look at your overall goal and really what you want to achieve here. So for example, for Local Wanderer, our mission is to inspire people to travel and when they travel, to connect with local communities and small businesses. So what this looks like on our Instagram account is that our account is less about us as people and more about the communities or the places that we visit. Then we use a lot of Instagram features to reinforce our mission and make sure that everyone really understands what we want them to get from our account. So we'll save Instagram stories and highlight four different cities on our profiles. People can get a mini quick and easy city guide through our stories and we'll also sometimes write really long Instagram captions that are filled with all the places that you need to go in any given city and we'll share the top restaurants or neighborhoods and we can tag all of the small businesses in that caption as well. We encourage people to then save the post to use when they are traveling. This helps us then promote our bigger mission of having people connect with local communities and small businesses. So contrasting example would be with Later. Our overall mission for our Instagram account is to help people stay up-to-date on all of the Instagram news and features and also to educate and empower them to use Instagram to grow their business. But we also go a little bit deeper too because we really understand who our audience is. We also understand the struggles that managing social media can have, both professionally and sometimes personally, with your mental health too and being on social media all the time. So we'll provide tips and tricks for dealing with burnout as well and sometimes just define relatable gifs. So once you know the why of your Instagram with your mission, now it's time to look at the who. So what this part is, is it's all about defining your audience or your target market. Who are those people that you're going to be creating content for? What do they like to do? Who do they like to follow? You're able to tailor your content to their interests. This is also going to be a little bit of trial and error and it's going to change over time. So for example, with Local Wanderer are we thought, when we first started, that our audience was 50, 50 men and women. Then when we switched to an Instagram business profile and saw our analytics, we were pretty surprised to see that it was actually 80 percent women and 20 percent men. So then we knew that we could cater our content to be a bit more of a female oriented content and not have to feel like we're alienating any male followers since, well, we didn't really have that many. When you're really thinking about defining your audience, you have to get down to the ethos of who you are and that's why your mission is so important. When I looked at this for my own account, I had to figure out, who am I, really? What are the things I really enjoy doing for myself and what do I want to share with my community? Lots of people struggle with whether they should have a solely personal account or a solely a business account and they don't feel like they can have both in one place. But I would really encourage you to do that because when it comes to achieving your goals on Instagram, people want to know the person behind the product or the person behind the business and the more personal you are, the more they're going to feel like they can relate to your business. I get really inspired by accounts like Raissa from Revolve. She's the Chief Brand Officer there and she shares a lot of really inspiring content from their influencer marketing campaigns. But she also shares going to the gym with her daughter or huge achievements like listing on the New York Stock Exchange. It's not all about fashion all the time. So what I really want you to get from this class is not your Instagram account is just like you as a person and you as a person do not only have one specific interest. You are full of different ideas and things that you like to talk about and hobbies that you like to do. So when it comes to choosing some metrics to track your success on Instagram, every account is going to be different. So the number of followers you have or the number of likes you're getting on a post, is not what determines success. Success goes back to what the goals of your Instagram account are. So there's three main areas that you could choose. One would be awareness, the second would be engagement, and thirdly, it would be sales. So if you are wanting to create an Instagram account because you want to be known as a thought leader in your industry, or you really just want to grow a brand, then awareness is going to be a great metric to look at. If you are focused on brand engagement and you just want to keep engagement high and stay top of mind with your followers on social media, this is a great way to do that, is through Instagram. Then you'll probably be wanting to look at engagement metrics. The third one is sales or traffic can fall into here too. So if you're using Instagram to sell a product, or you're using it to drive traffic to a blog post that you wrote, you really just want to be focused on how many sales did you make from Instagram? How much traffic did you drive from Instagram? So pick one of these areas or maybe two, but you don't have to focus on everything all the time. So to wrap up this lesson, you're going to want to sit down and really define your Instagram mission, maybe write it down to remind yourself and then pick which metrics are going to measure. Then only stick with those metrics and don't get distracted by the rest. Next up, we're going to talk about how you can carry your mission through your Instagram with branding. 7. Branding Your Profile: Now we're going to chat all about branding your Instagram profile. Why is branding so important? Because your Instagram profile is the new homepage. So when someone visits your profile, this is your chance to get them to convert from a visitor into a follower. So what your profile it looks is really important. People should be able to understand pretty much instantly who you are and what you do. Hopefully from a quick glance, you'll inspire them to follow your account too. So when it comes to branding on Instagram, what branding really means is the look and feel of your Instagram profiles. So some people might call this the aesthetics. So how you edit the photos and the vibe that you get from that. It's also the tone of voice with your copy, are you really cheeky and sassy? Are you really educational? Color plays a part in this as well. The colors that you choose to tell your brand story on Instagram. So the first step in branding your Instagram profile is writing your Instagram bio. So your Instagram bio includes your bio section. It also includes the link in your bio and all of your Instagram stories highlights on your profile as well. So when it comes to writing your Instagram bio, you really want to think about who is going to be reading it, and that is a new visitor to your account. So what are the main things that you want to convey to these visitors? Even if they don't follow you and they never come back again, what do you want them to remember about your profile? So that's what you're going to want to include in your bio. So let's look at an example from Kinfield. They are clearly using Instagram for branding and awareness. So we can tell this because the copy that they've used in their bio is setting the tone for their brand, great essentials for the great outdoors. It took me a little bit of a minute to figure out what their product actually is. So if they had a goals to sell products on Instagram they might want to make their bio a bit more action-oriented with a shop now link. But that's not their goals so they don't have to focus on that. This is a really good example that have a brand that would make me want to click the follow buttons. Now to contrast with that example, we can look at letters Instagram bio here. So for us our goals are definitely brand engagement and we also want awareness of our specific product. So that ties into those more sales-oriented calls to action. So from our Instagram bio, we really tell you what we are, but specifically what our product does. So we've used our Instagram highlights to highlight different features that our product has. So we have a highlight around scheduling, planning, user-generated content or Link in bio tool. So when people come to our Instagram, they can instantly click into the highlight and learn about all of our different scheduling features or all of our different planning features before they even follow us. So when it comes to choosing an username for your Instagram, you're going to want it to be as close to your actual brand name or your personal name as possible. But your Instagram handle, which is your Instagram username, is different than the name field in your Instagram bio. So the name field in your Instagram bio is the only part of your Instagram profile that is searchable. So if you want your Instagram account to be found from search, you can actually change the name field to different keywords. So my friend Elise Dharma, she has her username, which is Elise Dharma. But then the name field on her bio says Instagram marketing and business. So if people search Instagram marketing on Instagram, she's going to be one of the profiles that pops up. You can also keep your brand name in the name field and then add a keyword after it. So for example, on leaders Instagram profile, it says later hyphen social media schedulers. The link in your Instagram bio is a huge part of your Instagram profiles. So on Instagram, unless you have over 10,000 followers, the only place you can add a link is through your bio. The other place isn't Instagram stories. But you can't link certain post to an actual URL, it just doesn't work yet at least. So you really want to get strategic about what link you're putting in your Instagram bio. If you're using Instagram to drive traffic to blog posts or to sell products, a really cool thing is to use an Instagram bio link tools. Later has a free tool called the linking bio that you can use to send traffic anywhere you want from your Instagram feed post. So what happens is it basically creates a learning page that mimics your Instagram content. So let's take Vice's Instagram account as an example. I click on a link in their bio and then I'm shown all of their recent posts. I can click into each of those specifically to find exactly the article that I'm looking for. This is a really easy ways for you to drive traffic and sells from the post in your Instagram feed and not just your stories. So now that you have your Instagram bio optimize, its time to work our way down your profile to the photo sections. So if Instagram profile is your website, then your photos are the look and feel of the photos on your home page, what people see on your profile. Those first nine photos are a first impression of your brand. So consistency is really key. The best way to have consistency is to create an Instagram aesthetic that you apply to all of your photos. What I mean by aesthetic is that it's the general vibe of your Instagram profiles. So when people look at that he got adjust of who you are. What this means is that you're probably not going to be posting a lot of really bright and colorful and light photos and then have these [inaudible] , dark grainy photos somewhere thrown in there. It just looks a little bit like a mess and it shows that you aren't really thinking about your content that much. An easy way to fix this and to have consistency is to chose one or two filters that you like and apply those same editing process to every single photo. So let's take a look at my Instagram profile. So you can see here that all of my content really goes together, has the same vibe, even though I have some darker photos or some inside photos or nature photos, the alternative just come together and it looks like a real person's Instagram profile. So now it's time for you to take a look at your Instagram profile. If you are a new visitor, isn't really clear why they should follow you and what they'll get from following you. Take a look at what you think is working and if you think anything needs to be tweaked or removed, now's the time to do it. Next up, we're going to do a content audit of all of your Instagram content. So get ready to archive and delete. 8. Conducting a Content Audit: Now we're going to even get into running an Instagram audience. What this is going to do is make sure that the mission you've created, the goals you've already set, are all aligned with the content that you're actually creating. So the first step is to audit your existing content. So go through everything and make sure that it speaks to the brand that you want to have on Instagram. So this can go from making sure that it's consistent and it speaks to the bigger mission of your account, to the vibe of your photos. Do you have some that are not on brand or you're not super proud of, anything that you think isn't on brand or isn't aligned with your overall mission, I encourage you to archive it. It doesn't mean that it's deleted forever, it just means it's hidden and at any point in the future you can bring it back. This also doesn't mean that you have to whittle down your Instagram account to only nine posts. It just means that, if someone visits your profile and scrolls for a bit, that it's going to be in line with your mission and there's nothing in there that seems totally out of focus. But honestly, don't stress out too much about being perfect here. If there's a photo that you can't really tell if you should keep or not, if its something that means a lot to you or has a lot of purpose or value or a really great caption, keep it, it's okay, it's just a photo, it's not going to ruin your Instagram goals. But if it's something that you're like, "Hey, I can do without this, or I think I can do a bit better," then feel free to archive it. Truly understanding your analytics is the key to success on Instagram, because once you know what content is really resonating, you'll be able to create more of it. So it's important to do an audit of your existing Instagram analytics too. So this is the beauty of switching over to an Instagram business profile is that you can look at your analytics and do a quick little audit. So you can go into your Instagram insights and under Posts, click on this See All button. Here, you'll be able to see your post ranked by reach, or you can go down here and search by engagement. So when you look at all of your posts sorted by engagement, you'll probably will be able to see a pattern pretty quickly. Here, for example, I can tell that people really love color in our photos. They love that peachy bright sunshine vibe. They really like cool places to stay, cool coffee shops, and cool nature photos. That's all I can tell right here by looking at it. The other thing you'll want to look at is where does your audience come from? So if you'd go to the Audience tab, you can scroll down and find out a lot more about your followers. So you can see the top cities that we are living in. So for us we would take that as a learning like, hey, we have a lot of followers in New York and LA. We should create more content in New York and LA. Or on other side, find out where people who live in New York and LA are traveling too, because that's where that want to know where to go. You can also click over to Countries to get a better understanding of countries as well. Then you're also able to see demographics like gender and age range. So we're 76 percent women, 24 percent men. So we can easily create content that is tailored to women and not be afraid of alienating another part of our audience. We can see the age range, 25 to 34. That's really easy for us to understand because we're the same age, so we know what that target market likes. But you might be really surprised because maybe you are trying to attract followers in an older demographic, but you have content that skews younger, so then you're attracting younger followers who might not be able to purchase your product at the price point than older demographic was. So you want to make sure that the content is aligned to those age demographics there as well. I think it's also worth creating a monthly report for your Instagram account. This does not have to be super involved, it can just be a little spreadsheet that you keep track of. Or you could have an Instagram analytics platform, e-mail that to you as well like if we'd had in [inaudible] , or it's just a way for you to just check in every month for like 30 minutes and say, "hey, what's working on my Instagram account? What was the most successful content this month? What is something that I can learn from and create more of in the future?" So maybe posted a boomerang and you're like, hey, I had all these more impressions because it's a video and it showed up in the explore page. So now I know that I should post more video content. Just little learnings like that are going to go a long way. Content buckets are basically different subjects of content that you can create from. Some of them might be as simple as a quote that you repost from someone else, a lifestyle image, an up-close product image, or they could be subject matter. Instagram expert. Jasmine Star is the queen of content buckets, and she uses them to know what she should post next on her Instagram feed. So she actually has nine content buckets for the nine first posts that you see when you look at someone's profile and know they range from everywhere, from talking about her relationship with her husband, what she might post about every ninth post, or I quote post. Content buckets really allow you the flexibility and posting while also making it really easy for you to figure out what you should post, because you already know that you can pick from any bucket and create content for that. So how do you know but should be in your content bucket? It's a mix of thinking about your life. What are you naturally doing and naturally going to be able to create any ways. So going back to again, who are you? What do you want your Instagram to be like? Being real to that and true to that, but then also looking at your analytics and seeing what's performing. Because if you have a goal to grow, then obviously you want to have content that people want to engage with. A good thing to do is to look at your feed right now and see if you can group things into categories. So on my profile, I allude to my content buckets in my bio because it says, looks, mental health, Instagram tips, occasional deep thoughts. So those would be some of my content buckets. Other ones could be advocacy. I share a lot of behind the scenes content of building later and what working in a startup is like, so that's definitely a big one. Keeping people up to date on our company, make sure that you're creating content buckets for both your feed and your stories. If you want to get into IGTV, this would be a really great way to do it. Two, choose one content bucket and create a series around that for your IGTV. So what you'll want to do is sit down and create your content buckets. If you're just starting out, you can pick maybe three to four areas. You can create as many or as little content buckets as you want, as long as they are authentic and true to you and they are aligned with your overall Instagram missions. Remember, this doesn't have to be totally rigid. It just gives you a good starting off point for thinking about what content you want to create, which is what we're going to talk about next. 9. Creating Great Content: Now we're going to chat about content creation and in this section, you're going to learn how you can create a content strategy that will help you attract the right type of followers and get more engagement on your account. So here's a little secret. You don't have to actually create all of your own content in order to have an awesome content strategy. So you can use user-generated content and what UGC is, is it's basically content that is created by somebody else that is aligned with your vision or the same purpose and you can share their content to your feed to amplify the conversation or involve people in your community. If you have a branded hashtag, this is a great way to include people who are using your hashtag by re-posting what they're sharing about your brand. Same thing if you have a physical product and people are posting photos of it and tagging you in it, you can re-share that onto your profile to show them some love and to show that people love your product and are using it and UGC is actually the most trusted form of content. So if you are using your Instagram for sales, you'll definitely want to have UGC as a part of your strategy. So just make sure that you ask for permission first. But once you get their permission, UGC is a really great way to involve more people in your overall Instagram missions. When you're using user-generated content, definitely make sure to add photo credit in the caption and to tag them in the photos. When we're talking about content types, stories is a whole world in itself. So just because your content disappears in 24 hours, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't put thought into what goes into your stories. There's no best-practice when it comes to stories content. It's really figuring out what's best for you and your brand. So if you're a really busy mum on the go who's blending her personal life with her small business, you probably don't have time to sit down for an hour and create really highly produced Instagram stories every single day. So for you, a better approach might just be sharing your stories as you're going about throughout your day and not using a ton of tools for post-production. Consistency is key here so even if you aren't super feeling like posting that day, share some of your favorite posts on Instagram to your story and to share inspiration. Because you want to have something there for people to come back to every single day. Carousels are awesome piece of content because they actually increase the time that people spend on your post, which helps it perform better in Instagram algorithm because people are engaging with your content for longer. Carousels can also allow you to tell a bigger story and instead of just sharing one photo about something, you can get a little bit deeper and then you can go into more detail or for example, if you're traveling somewhere, instead of choosing just one photo to post, you can choose up to ten. There you can also mix and match photo and videos as well in the carousel, which can bring a lot more life to your posts as well. Speaking on video, I highly encourage you to post video content. This is because it performs amazing in the algorithm but its also a really good way to get more followers because videos are more likely to show up in the Instagram explore page and when people see videos and then come to your page to watch it, it's a little bit of a longer engagement time and they're more likely to then find your account and follow you. Creating video content does not need to be really hard. Like I said, if you just take a boomerang and post a boomerang instead of a still photo, it's going to count as a video and give you all of the extra benefit. So let's see how I put all these pieces together and prepare an Instagram post where I want to promote this course. So we just tag a boomerang of me at this desk and I'm going to now save the boomerang and open it up in my favorite editing app, which is called Tezza, the Tezza editing app. I'm going to import the video, double-click and now I can go through all these filters and see what I want to post. So I know that I have some go-to filters. One of them is glow, one of them is vintage and one of them is mood. So sometimes I like to layer them a bit. So glow I would usually use if it's dark and I wanted to brighten up the photo or the video on this case. So I'm not going to use that, I'm going to use vintage, but I'm only going to use a little bit because again, you don't want to over edit your photos. So I'm going to save it and now I'm going to import that video into the app again. Second layer with another filter. So I'm just going to put a little bit of mood on top here and then you can go into the tools and I could adjust brightness here. I think it's pretty bright. I want to make a little bit more contrast and I might even, because I'm wearing a bright pink shirt, I might even up the saturation a little bit so it stands out. That looks pretty good to me and I'm going to hit save and now because I want to prepare post for Instagram, I am going to crop it a bit to be those optimal dimensions. So I'm going to open up in shot. So we're going to add the video into Inshot and from here, I can go to the Canvas button and you can choose your dimension. So I can choose 4:5, which is the Instagram profile option and that looks pretty perfect to me and then save the posts and I am ready to schedule it. So when I think about what I want to write for the caption for this post because captions are very important, I'm going to go back to my content buckets. So for this one, part of it falls under the content bucket of sharing behind the scenes of start-up life and behind the scenes of building the later brand. Another part of the caption would fall into my Instagram mission, which is to establish myself as someone who can help you achieve your goals for Instagram. So by saying that I'm partnering with skill share, it reminds people that I have knowledge to share. So next up, we're going to dive into scheduling and my personal Instagram workflow. 10. Building a Workflow: Scheduling Instagram posts with an all in one Instagram marketing platform is not only a great way to save time, but can also help you get more followers, get more engagement, and get more views on your stories. Basically, you want to spend more time engaging on Instagram than you are putting it all together and scheduling it. So it's a great way to save time and we're going to show you some tips for how to create an awesome Instagram workflow. So Step 1, our number one recommendation is to be consistent and choose one day a week where you sit down and plan out all of your Instagram content for the week so you can have all your posts scheduled, ready to go so you don't have to ever stress and freak out like, Oh no, what am I going to post to Instagram today? It's also really important for your captions because you can sit down at your computer when you're in the right head's pace for writing and write all your captions at the same time, making sure that they're optimized for your goals. You can also do things like research all the right hashtags to use, and you can use a visual planner to ensure that your feed looks great. If you need to move around a couple of posts so that it looks better in the feed, you can do that because you're planning ahead and scheduling. It's not just post, you can actually schedule your Instagram stories too. So if you are someone who likes to shoot a bunch of content before you have all laid out, you can plan all your stories contents so you don't have to worry about that every day either. So a visual planner is a tool that helps you preview what your Instagram feeds will look like before you actually post to it. So I'm going to click on the preview button here in Later, and I can see all of my scheduled posts. So this is where my Instagram feed ends and this is all of my other scheduled posts. So when you're looking at your visual planner, you want to make sure that you have a good variety of content buckets or maybe want to space out some of the topics that you're not talking about the same topic, multiple posts in a row, and you want to look at the aesthetic too making sure that your colors are all balanced and you have a good mix of imagery. At the end of the day, you don't have to stress out about this too much, but with scheduling, it's really nice to be able to preview it before you post so that everything looks completely on brand. We haven't talked a lot about hashtags yet, but hashtags are a good way for you to engage with other communities and to be found on Instagram. So if you're not sure what hashtags to use, you can use Later's suggested hashtags tool. After you've created your caption and you're ready to post, you can click on hashtag suggestions and just type in one common hashtag. So if it's a photo of coffee, we can do hashtag dailycortado. Now you have a whole selection of suggested hashtags that are based on that one hashtag from Later. So you can go through them, you can see how many posts they have. So you're going to want a mix of hashtags that have a lot of posts on them and hashtags that have fewer because the ones have fewer, probably of more engagement. Then you just go through and click on all of the ones that you think are relevant, like coffeegram or specialtycoffee, coffeeshots, and just click on the ones you want and then when you're done, press Insert and all the hashtags have already been added to your post. You can also use Later to organize and manage all of your hashtags as well. So a good tip for hashtag strategy is that you don't want to just add the same hashtags to every single post. You want them to be specific to each post so you want to have different hashtags for probably your different content buckets. So What you can do is you can click on saved captions in Later, where you can see all of the different organized lists of your hashtag. So you might have coffee hashtags that would be easy in a one-click, you can then enter all of the coffee hashtags on your photo of a beautiful cup of coffee. It takes two seconds because we've already managed that and it's good to go. After you've loaded up all your content into your media library, you've decided what posts you want to schedule for the week, you've written your captions, optimized your hashtags, then now it's time to optimize the timing of your posts. Because remember, posting at your best times is what's going to help you beat the Instagram algorithm. If you turn on Later's best time to post feature, it's going to automatically highlight the seven top times for engagement on your calendar. So from here, once you have your post scheduled, it's really easy to just click and drag them down to your best time to post. You can easily see this is your best times, doesn't mean that you have to post them on those times every single day, but it's going give you a good indication of whether you should be posting in the morning or at night. Also something to keep in mind, if you only post at the same time every day, is just going to show you those times. So it's good to kind of experiment for a bit as well and then your results will change. You can also look in the Instagram app and it will show you when your followers are online and kind of use dot to gauge but it's a lot less specific to knowing the best time is for engagement. Once you have all of your content ready for your feed and it's all scheduled and ready to go, you can also plan and schedule your stories. So you just want to click on the stories button from the calendar and then click on your stories content and drag it into your stories calendar. From here, you'll be able to move around your stories until you find the right order that you want. You can also add a link or texts that you want to copy because stories can't be automatically scheduled to Instagram, this is against Instagram's API right now. So when this changes in the future, Later will update that, but for now, what it does is sends you your stories right to your phone at the time to post and then you can quickly open up your phone and post them in seconds. I really challenge you to sit down and just commit 30 minutes a week to your Instagram account. You can plan out an entire week's worth of content and have it all scheduled and ready to go so you don't even have to think about it in just 30 minutes. Then when you're done planning out your content, if you have five or 10 minutes to spare, go into your analytics and spend that time per week just seeing what's going on and doing a good gut check. Later has free Instagram analytics for you to use as well. So if you don't want to check them out on your phone, you can look at your analytics in Later, and Later is completely free to use. So you can plan all of your Instagram right from your desktop. You don't have to try and write a lot of captions on your phone, but we are on iOS and Android as well, and again, completely free to use. So now that you know more about content creation and how to automate your Instagram marketing so that you don't have to stress out about it, the final piece of the puzzle is going to be growing your Instagram account and getting more followers. 11. Growing Your Audience: When it comes to getting followers on Instagram, I'm going to be real. It's not as easy as it was when Instagram first came out. There's a lot more competition because people see the value in it. There is the algorithm that you have to figure out in bits. There's a lot of really clever, creative brands out there doing a lot of really cool things, but it's not impossible. You just got to work a little smarter and a little bit harder. I'm going to be sharing real tips with you that actually work for creating an Instagram account. But these aren't going to be hacky ways or spammy ways, because again, we want to build a real authentic account, and so you have to do that in authentic ways. So make sure that you're not buying followers or using spam bots because at the end of the day, that's going to hurt your account instead of help it. So the first step to getting more Instagram followers is to actually look outside of Instagram. So what this means is look at other areas where you might have online influence. Do you have a newsletter list of your customers? Do you have a blog, something like that? Really any chance that you have to integrate your Instagram account into your marketing materials is a great way to get more followers. For example, at later when I was really wanting to get to that 10k mark on my Instagram, I started sharing some examples of what I was doing on my Instagram and our blog posts. Every time I did that, I got a bunch of followers because people had been reading my blog posts for a long time, but it just hadn't entered their mind to look me up on Instagram until they saw it right there in their blog post. I've been doing that in this course as well because I'm using my own Instagram account as an example, which will maybe inspire you two check it out and then if you like what you see, give me a follow. Another way to get followers from outside of Instagram is through press. If you're ever mentioned in the media or something like that, people are going to naturally look you up on Instagram and you can maybe see a short but significant spike there, which leads us into cross-promotions. So another strategy for getting more followers is to team up with your friends. So this is why it's so great to actually be authentic on Instagram because you will probably need other people who are doing similar things to you on Instagram, and it would bee mutually beneficial for you guys to maybe collaborate on something. So maybe you take over someone's account for the day and they take over your account or they share a shout-out and their stories, or even if you're just hanging out with your friend in real life and you take a photo together. This is also why it's awesome to work with other influencers or brands. So if you have a brand, you could maybe partner on like a co-branding initiative or finding someone who has a similar target market and your products would go good together. Maybe you team up and do an Instagram giveaway, which is then exposing your brands to new audiences who are the same type of people that they're trying to connect with. Another good strategy for authentically getting followers is to create content that's so awesome that it gets in the Explore page. The Explore page on Instagram is really curated to every single person. It's based on the content that they like and engage with. A good way to do that is with hashtags. When you're looking at your Instagram analytics on a feed post, you can actually see how many people came to your profile from the Explore page. So if you've a post that's getting a lot more engagement than you normally would have, you can see, hey, a lot of these people are coming from the Explore page. Or you could see, oh, a lot of these people are coming from hashtags. Did you use a new hashtag that you weren't previously using? Or then you'll known that the hashtags you're using on that post where a really good idea. It's also really awesome to use Instagram's location tagging features for both your stories and for your feed posts. Because people are turning to Instagram to look for places instead of Google. So they don't want to scroll through a place to see what it looks like before they get there and they'll be able to see your posts and engage with them. You can do this on a really big level, like tagging Gore Instagram post New York, or you could do it on a micro-level by sharing the specific coffee shop that you're in that day, or wherever your photo takes place. But you will get a lot more impressions by using location tagging. When you're posting content to your stories and your feed, don't forget to tag brands. So this works for your stories and tagging them because they can easily repost in there stories, and it works for your feed posts because it's easy for them to then reshare your content to their feed at a later time. A good tip is that if you want to tag them in your story, but you don't want your stories to look extremely branded, you can shrink the tag down really, really small to the point where you can't even see it, or you can hide it behind a sticker or a GIF or something like that as well. So it's a sneaky way to still get your brand mentioned in without ruining the aesthetic of your story. But remember, you get back what you put into it. So you can't expect all of these people to become obsessive with your Instagram account if you're not taking time out of your day to engage back with them. Make sure you're checking on other people's Instagram accounts, you're following other people, your common team, your common team DMs are really, really great way to create new relationships even with people you've never met before. You can also use questions starters through Instagram stories. So you can use Q&A stickers and do some question and answers or just use a pole and gauge what people are thinking about. These are gray conversation starters that will usually lead to people replying back with a DM or a little story, and just always make sure that you are replying back to your DMs, replying back to comments, and that you're being proactive and going out and giving engagement just like you want to receive that. Really at the end of the day, if you're being totally authentic and totally true to you, people are going to see that and they're going to love it. That's how you're going to get followers because you're being authentic. So to wrap up everything that you've learned today and put it all together, I'll encourage you to create an about me highlight on your Instagram profile from your Instagram stories. What you'd want to include here is a little introduction to yourself or your brand. You don't have to explicitly say what your mission is, but think about your mission and if that is communicated to the audience that you want to attract, is your ascetic fit into it, and does it give a good introduction to who you are and what your Instagram account is all about. You can upload it to the project gallery, which is a great place for you to connect with other people who are growing their Instagrams and it's a great way to promote your Instagram off of Instagram as well. I would love to see what you create, so feel free to DM it to me on Instagram as well. 12. Final Thoughts: Congratulations! You have completed this class. We have learned a lot about your Instagram mission and the audience that you want to attract. I hope you're feeling so confident to go out there and be your true self on Instagram, so you can create an account people will genuinely care about. Don't forget to upload your projects to the project gallery. You can follow me on Instagram at Taylor Loren and later its free to sign up. I hope you have so much fun on Instagram and I cannot wait to see what you do.